Safeguards Against Pederasty Planned by Church in Germany

Cardinal Lehmann Wants to Move Quickly on the Matter

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BERLIN, JULY 15, 2002 (Zenit.org).- The Catholic Church in Germany will adopt measures to prevent pedophilia and to treat existing cases, the president of the episcopate says.



Cardinal Karl Lehmann, archbishop of Mainz, made the announcement Sunday in response to an article published in Der Spiegel magazine, which reported cases of sexual abuse in Germany reminiscent of the U.S. scandals.

The cardinal revealed that the German bishops' conference (http://dbk.de) will adopt a document on pedophilia in September.

Cardinal Lehmann said he was "very worried" about the cases mentioned in Der Spiegel.

"We are going to verify quickly and intensively the facts evoked in that article and, eventually, we will not hesitate to face the necessary consequences," he said. "In particular, I am affected by the sufferings experienced by the victims."

"In a spirit of self-criticism, we must ask ourselves if we do not have to act in this area even more decisively," said the cardinal, who agrees with John Paul II's requests on this matter "and with the regulation adopted by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops."

"The Church, like society, is in a learning process" in this serious matter, the cardinal added.

Vicar General Werner Guballa of Mainz, meanwhile, announced that a priest of the diocese was suspended from public ministry the moment he was accused of sexual abuse. The diocese plans to carry out an investigation and collaborate with civil authorities.